Okeechobee
Soil & Water Conservation District

Unlock Your Farm's Potential

Unlock Your Farm's Potential

Pictured at a soils training from left to right are Rangeland Specialist, Clarence Morgan, District Conservationist, Howard Harrison, Soil Conservationist Jedidiah Dunn, District Conservationist, Carlos Torres, Resource Conservationist Ismael Reyes, and OSWCD Program Manager, Audrey Kuipers. 

OSWCD Employees

OSWCD Employees

Pictured at the 2019 Land Judging Contest (from left to right) are OSWCD Conservation Technician, Ashley Avant, OSWCD Program Assistant, Courtney Murphy, OSWCD Conservation Technician, Mikayla Allison, and Program Manager, Audrey Kuipers, 

Ag Literacy Day

Natural Resource Leadership Institute Graduate

Pictured from left to right are Glynn Rutledge, Audrey Kuipers, Nicki Smith, Donald Sellers, and Douglas Burnham. Audrey Kuipers is holding her certificate from the Natural Resource Leadership Institute.

Announcements

The March 13 meeting has been canceled.  The next meeting will be held on April 11 at 1:00 PM.

 

Board Members

Board of Supervisors

  • Mariano Corona, Chairman
  • Nicki Smith
  • Don Sellers, Jr.
  • Douglas Burnham
  • Glynn Rutledge, Secretary/Treasurer

Board Meetings 

  • 2nd Wednesday of Every Month at 1:00 PM
  • Located at 200 NW 5th Street, Okeechobee, FL  34972
  • Check updates on home page for any cancellations
 
Pictured above from left to right board members, Douglas Burnham, Glynn Rutledge, Donald Sellers. Mariano Corona.

Pictured are OSWCD Board members. From left to right, Doulgas Burnham, Glynn Rutledge, Donald Sellers, Mariano Corona, and Nicki Smith.

What We Do

 

Established by the Florida Legislature, the Okeechobee Soil & Water Conservation District, a governmental subdivision of the State of Florida, was established October 9, 1950 under Florida Statutes 582 by local residents for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the wise use, management and general conservation of the County’s soil, water and related natural resources. The District is committed to preserving and enhancing the quality of life in Okeechobee County through conservation of its natural resources.

The Okeechobee Soil & Water Conservation District works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) creating ways to conserve water, prevent soil erosion, convert irrigation systems and inform the public about conservation problems.

A Code of Ethics has been adopted by the district.  For Code of Ethics Information. View Code of Ethics Here.

The Okeechobee SWCD operates under Florida Statutes 582 under the Florida Legislature.

Service Area

There are 58 Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Florida, all organized by local constituents for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the wise use, management and general conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.

An elected five-member, non-partisan board of supervisors, who volunteer their services, manages each soil and water conservation district. Florida has 290 supervisors.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts are non-taxing and are supported by maintaining relationships and partnership with other government agencies.

 

Services Provided

  • Provide technical assistance with conservation planning and best management practice implementation.
  • Partner with state and federal governments to provide environmental incentive programs to landowners.
  • Educate youth through various programs including the district speech and poster contest, land judging competition, Envirothon competition, and Ag-Venture program.
  • Provide educator grants available to public, private, and home school educators interested in implementing soil and water conservation programs in their classrooms. 
  • Educate the public through environmental/agricultural presentations.
  • Serve as the FWC monofilament recovery and recycling program coordinator for Okeechobee. Bins have been placed throughout the county to collect line and keep it out of our waterways. Collected line is sent off to Berkley-Pure Fishing for recycling into tackle boxes, toys, and other products.
  •  

 

Educational Programs

The Okeechobee Soil and Water Conservation District is involved in a number of educational programs. 

Poster Contest

Eligibility

☐    The Okeechobee Soil and Water Conservation District Poster Contest is open to Okeechobee County students (public, private or home educated) grades kindergarten through grade twelfth.

☐  DEADLINE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2019

Contest Rules

☐   Any media may be used to create a flat or two-dimensional effect (paint, crayon, colored pencil, charcoal, stickers, paper or other materials on regular posters).

☐  Poster size must be between 8.5”x11” and 22”x28”.

☐  Posters should be packaged so they remain flat when submitted to OSWCD.

☐  All posters must be created by an individual student rather than a team of students.

☐  The theme: “Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper” should be incorporated in the artwork.

☐  Each entry must have a signed entry form affixed to back of poster to be eligible for judging.

☐  Although younger students will most likely receive help in planning from parents or teachers, OSWCD encourages each student to do as much work as possible by him/herself Entries completed by students in their handwriting and coloring will score better than those designed, drawn and colored by adult assistance.

Poster Evaluations

☐   Conservation message (50 percent)

☐   Visual effectiveness (30 percent)

☐   Originality (10 percent)

☐   Universal appeal (10 percent)

☐   Also taken into consideration, artwork on poster is that of participant (unless noted on entry form)

Prize Levels

☐  Poster Categories:  K-1; 2-3; 4-6; 7-9; 10-12

☐  1st -$30; 2nd -$20; 3rd- $10 in each category

☐  Winners at local level with advance to the Area IV contest, with a chance of advancing to the state contest.

Speech Contest

Okeechobee County Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors an annual speech contest, which is designed to develop leadership and stimulate interest in conserving natural resources.

Eligibility

☐   Contest is open to public, private, parochial or home school students from 6th through 12th grade in Okeechobee County.

☐   A signed entry/release form is also required.

☐   Provided enough participation, the District contest may be divided into two categories (6-8 & 9-12) with the highest overall scoring students from each category advancing to Area Contests.

Contest Rules

Contest Topic – “Life in the Soil:  Dig Deeper”

☐  Speeches must be original, not previously used, and created by the contestant. Notes may be used while speaking, but audio and visual aids of any form are not permitted.

☐  Winner of the local competition will be entered in an area competition (multi District), and may then advance to the State competition. Highest scoring Area winner will advance to the State competition. Contestant may not wear attire that identifies them with any organization (e.g., FFA, 4-H, school logos).

☐  Time Limit – Speeches must be a minimum of five to seven minutes in length. Time under or over these limits, respectively, will result in two points deducted for each 15 second increment or part thereof.

☐  Judging – A standard score sheet will be used for all contestants. Three judges and one time keeper will be used at district, area, and state competitions. Judges should be experienced in public speaking and should not be elected supervisors or staff. Judges will score entries based on the following criteria: 

CATEGORY ITEM POINTS
CONTENT Relevance to the given topic 10
  Treatment (material used and accuracy of statements) 20
  Originality (subject matter and treatment) 20
  Total Content Points 50
     
COMPOSITION Organization, cohesiveness, grammar, style 10
  Total Composition Points 10
     
DELIVERY Voice (enunciation, modulation) 10
  Personal Appearance (neatness, posture) 10
  Communicative Expertise (sincerity, ability to convey thought and meaning) 10
  Stage Presence (gestures, visual contact) 10
  Total Delivery Points 40
     
  Total Possible Points 100

Oral speeches will be presented on  April 10th, 2019 at UF/IFAS Extension Service Conference Room 

*Note to Teachers: Participation in this event would directly relate to Sunshine Standards, Language Arts, LA.C.3.4.1 and LA.C.3.4.2.

 

Land Judging

Land Judging is an exciting 4-H and FFA contest in which Middle and High School students in observe and interpret the soil in order to make wise land use decisions.

The skills the teens use at the contest involve principles that can be valuable in career fields like environmental and agricultural management, natural resources conservation, home building, engineering, and construction. Students can compete at the local, state, and national levels.

The Okeechobee Soil & Water Conservation Districts host local middle and high school students in FFA and 4-H to test their knowledge by judging soils from four pits that are selected by a Soil Scientist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In each class (Middle 4-H, High 4-H, Middle FFA, High FFA) the local county winner may compete at the state contest in that respective class.

Top placing teams in the state contest are eligible to compete at the National Land Judging Contest held at the end of April.

Ag-Venture

Ag-Venture is a free, one day program which provides a great opportunity for fourth graders (public, private and home educated) to gain experience, understanding and the appreciation of our local agricultural industry. At Ag-Venture, students learn about soils, alligators, beef, bees, citrus, dairy, poultry, and vegetables. 

Soils: Students will first enter into a soil tunnel to see what is ALIVE in our soil. Then view a display of soil erosion and how our farmers and ranchers take care of the soil, before students head down their trails.Alligators: Students will learn about alligators in the wild and how they are farmed commercially. Students will get up close and personal with a hatchling.

Beef: Students learn about the many by-products of a beef cow and the economic impact of this industry to our county. They play Beef-O-Bingo and meet real cowboys.

Bees: Students learn about the importance of bees in agriculture. They are shown a “live hive” and the equipment used to harvest honey. Students get to find the Queen Bee, taste honey and make beeswax candles.

Citrus: Students are shown many different types of citrus and given samples to taste. They squeeze their own orange juice and learn about citrus production and its by-products.

Dairy: Students get up close and personal with dairy calves, see the types of feed they eat, learn about dairy products and
how the milk gets from the cow to the consumer. Students will also make their own butter.

Poultry: Students learn about the poultry industry, egg production, and the use of eggs. They learn the recipe to a perfect
omelet and taste it.

Vegetables: Students learn how vegetables get from the farm to the grocery store. They learn about the different parts of the plant that are edible and view a variety of seeds, plants and vegetables. Students will make a “Garden in a Glove”.

4th grade teachers will receive curriculum and pre/post tests that relate to each station that meet certain education bench-
marks. Interactive displays, tractors, animal feeds, and farm animals will be on display for the students, as well.

Envirothon

The Regional Envirothon is a problem-solving, natural resource education program for high school students. It is a unique outdoor competition that requires teamwork and the application of knowledge in the five areas listed below:

  • Aquatics – water ecology, water chemistry, water quality, and aquatic life.
  • Current Environmental Issues – annually selected topics such as energy sources, ground water, Gulf of Mexico environmental concerns or other current issues.
  • Forestry – tree identification, tree ecology, insects, and timber.
  • Soils – classification, formation, soil properties, profiles, and site suitability.
  • Wildlife – habitat, identification, food, disease, and management.

Each team consists of five students. Schools can enter more than one team, but no more than six teams. The five-member teams are led by an advisor in studying prepared resource materials in the five areas including a selected current environmental issue, which for 2016 is “Invasive Species, a Challenge to the Environment, Economy and Society.”

Schools can enter more than one team, but no more than six teams. During the competition, the students will rotate to the five testing stations. The Regional Envirothon is sponsored by the Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Soil and Water Conservation Districts, bringing together soil scientists, wildlife experts, foresters, park and recreational leaders, and other environmental specialists to challenge students to learn about our natural resources.

Financials

Budget Information

 

The District’s fiscal year runs from October 1st through September 30th annually.

FY 18 Budget 

Income

BUDGET

3816030 Technician Contract 24311 Exp 6/2018

202,619

3437015 · NRCS Contribution

15,000

3437016 · BOCC Grant Agreement

43,000

3620000 · Rents

26,565

3610100 · Interest revenue-General Fund

1,370

3810100 · 5% Admin Fee FDACS

39,667

3810101 · 2% Admin Fee FDACS

69,327

Total General Income

397,548

Expense

 

Building Expense

 

2025000 . Sales Tax Payable

1,738

5371000 · Lawn Maintenance

3,000

5372003.  Property Tax

3,500

5375002 · Repairs and Maintenance

3,500

5375003 · Pest Control

690

5375228 · Utility – Electric

3,750

5375229 · Utility – Water

900

5375230 · Utility-Garbage

                     400

Total Building Expense

17,478

Educational Programs

 

5376140.Speech Contest

1,000

5376141.Poster Contest

400

5376142.Envirothon

500

5376143.Monofilament Recycling

400

5376144.Stewardship Week

500

5376146.Land Judging

1,000

5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

                  1,000

Total Educational Programs Expense

4,800

Other Grants and Aids

 

537184.Educator Grants

5,000

537185.Urban MIL/Rain Sensors

500

537186.Small Farms BMP’s

               40,000

Total Other Grants and Aids

45,500

General Expense

 

5370102 . Captial Outlay

30,000

5370123 · Insurance

8,500

5370131 · Professional Services

200

5370132 · Accounting and auditing

18,000

5370139 · Employee Training/Certification

3,000

5370140 · Travel/Meals

11,000

5370141 · Postage and Delivery

300

5370142. Registration

1,100

5370151 · Office Supplies/Expense

4,500

5370154 · Books, Publ, Subscr, Mbrshps

2,000

5370164 · Office Equipment

1,500

5370241 · Communications

600

5375212 · Uniforms

600

5376145 · Advertising

1,500

5376560 · Payroll Expenses

263,000

5378200 · Vehicle Expense

                  2,200

Total General Expense

348,000

Total Expense

415,778

Increase/(Decrease) to Fund Balance

              -18,230

SPECIAL REVENUE

Income

 

3340000 Grant Revenue

 

Contract 22862 Exp Date 6/2018

1,023,992

Contract 23944 Exp Date 6/2019

1,600,000

Contract 24401 Exp Date 6/2019

2,200,000

Contract 25021 Exp Date 6/2020                                 

487,873

Total Income

5,311,865

Expense

 

5370000 FDACS Dispursements

 

Contract 22862 Exp Date 6/2018

1,023,992

Contract 23944 Exp Date 6/2019

1,600,000

Contract 24401 Exp Date 6/2019

2,200,000

Contract 25021 Exp Date 6/2020                                 

487,873

Total Expense

5,311,865

Increase/Decrease to Fund Balance

0

 

INCOME

 

BUDGET

 

INC/DEC

 

AMENDED BUDGET

 

JUSTIFICATION

 

3816030 Technician Contract 24311 Exp 6/2018

 

202,619

 

-132,619

 

70,000

 

Tecnician positions were vacant

3437015 · NRCS Contribution

15,000

 

15,000

 

3437016 · BOCC Grant Agreement

43,000

 

43,000

 

3620000 · Rents

26,565

-11,635

14,930

Tenant moved out/SWCD took over Space

3610100 · Interest revenue-General Fund

1,370

9,147

10,517

Changed investments

3810100 · 5% Admin Fee FDACS

39,667

67,333

107,000

 

3810101 · 2% Admin Fee FDACS

              69,237             

-15,237                                 

54,000

 

 

Total General Income

 

             397,458            

 

-83,011                               

 

481,351

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPENSE

 

 

 

 

 

Building Expense

 

BUDGET

 

INC/DEC

 

AMENDED BUDGET

 

JUSTIFICATION

 

2025000 . Sales Tax Payable

 

1,738

 

 

1,738

 

5371000 · Lawn Maintenance

3,000

 

3,000

 

5372003.  Property Tax

3,500

 

3,500

 

5375002 · Repairs and Maintenance

3,500

-810

2,690

Move funds to 5375231.Phone/Internet

5375003 · Pest Control

690

 

690

 

5375228 · Utility – Electric

3,750

 

3,750

 

5375229 · Utility – Water

900

 

900

 

5375230 · Utility-Garbage

400

 

400

 

5375231 . Phone/Internet

                      0                     

810                           

810

Add new phone line and internet

 

Total Building Expense

 

17,478

 

0

 

17,478

 

 

Educational Programs

 

 

 

 

 

5376140.Speech Contest

 

1,000

 

-600

 

400

 

Move funds to 5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

5376141.Poster Contest

400

0

400

Move funds to 5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

5376142.Envirothon

500

-500

0

Move funds to 5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

5376143.Monofilament Recycling

400

-200

200

Move funds to 5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

5376144.Stewardship Week

500

-500

0

Move funds to 5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

5376146.Land Judging

1,000

-500

500

Move funds to 5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

1,000

2,300

3,300

Funds needed for Soil Trailer

 

Total Educational Programs Expense

 

4,800

 

0

 

4,800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Grants and Aids

 

 

 

 

 

537184.Educator Grants

 

5,000

 

 

5,000

 

537185.Urban MIL/Rain Sensors

500

 

500

 

537186.Small Farms BMP’s

              40,000             

 

40,000

 

 

Total Other Grants and Aids

 

45,500

 

0

 

45,500

 

 

General Expense

 

 

 

 

 

5370102 . Captial Outlay

 

30,000

 

 

30,000

 

5370123 · Insurance

8,500

 

8,500

 

5370131 · Professional Services

200

1,000

1,200

Personnel Handbook

5370132 · Accounting and auditing

18,000

 

18,000

 

5370139 · Employee Training/Certification

3,000

-550

2,450

Move funds to 5370164 Supplies, 5376120 Charges

5370140 · Travel/Meals

11,000

-3000

8,000

Move funds to 537131 Professional and 5376145 Ads

5370141 · Postage and Delivery

300

 

300

 

5370142.  Registration

1,100

 

1,100

 

5370151 · Office Supplies/Expense

4,500

 

4,500

 

5370154 · Books, Publ, Subscr, Mbrshps

2,000

 

2,000

 

5370164 · Office Equipment

1,500

500

2,000

Board tablets

5370241 · Communications

600

 

600

 

5375212 · Uniforms

600

 

600

 

5376120.  Bank Service Charge

0

50

50

CD wire transfers

5376145 · Advertising

1,500

2000

3,500

Outside of soil trailer

5376560 · Payroll Expenses

263,000

 

263,000

 

5378200 · Vehicle Expense

                2,200               

 

2,200

 

 

Total General Expense

 

348,000

 

0

 

348,000

 

 

Total Expense

 

415,778

 

0

 

415,778

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase/(Decrease) to Fund Balance

 

             -18,320            

 

 

65,573

 

 

 

 

FY 19 Proposed Budget

 

INCOME

 

FY 18 BUDGET

 

FY 18 FINAL BUDGET

 

FY 19 PROPOSED BUDGET

 

3816030 . Technician Contract 24311 Exp 6/2019

 

202,619

 

110,000

 

114,688

3437015 · NRCS Contribution

15,000

15000

17,890

3437016 · BOCC Grant Agreement

43,000

43000

43,000

3620000 · Rents

26,565

14,930

14,930

3610100 · Interest revenue-General Fund

1,370

10,517

19,000

3810100 · 5% Admin Fee FDACS

39,667

107,000

53,818

3810101 · 2% Admin Fee FDACS

69,237

54,000

60,857

 

Total General Income

 

397,458

 

354,447

 

324,182

 

 

 

 

 

EXPENSE

 

 

 

 

Building Expense

 

BUDGET

 

AMENDED BUDGET

 

AMENDED BUDGET

 

2025000 . Sales Tax Payable

 

1,738

 

1,738

 

1,200

5371000 · Lawn Maintenance

3,000

3,000

2,500

5372003. Property Tax

3,500

3,500

1,000

5375002 · Repairs and Maintenance

3,500

2,690

10,000

5375003 · Pest Control

690

690

690

5375228 · Utility – Electric

3,750

3750

3,000

5375229 · Utility – Water

900

900

1,000

5375230 · Utility-Garbage

400

400

400

5375231 . Phone/I

0

810

1,320

 

Total Building Expense

 

17,478

 

17,478

 

21,110

 

 

 

 

 

Educational Programs

 

 

 

 

5376140.Speech Contest

 

1,000

 

400

 

400

5376141.Poster Contest

400

400

400

5376142.Envirothon

500

0

500

5376143.Monofilament  Recycling

400

200

100

5376144.Stewardship Week

500

0

0

5376146.Land Judging

1,000

500

500

5376147.General Soil/Ag Education

1,000

3,300

2,500

 

Total Educational Programs Expense

 

4,800

 

4,800

 

4,400

 

 

 

 

 

Other Grants and Aids

 

 

 

 

537184.Educator Grants

 

5,000

 

5000

 

2,500

537185.Urban MIL/Rain Sensors

500

500

500

537186.Small Farms BMP’s

40,000

40000

40,000

 

Total Other Grants and Aids

 

45,500

 

45,500

 

43,000

 

General Expense

 

 

 

 

5370102 . Captial Outlay

 

30,000

 

57000

 

0

5370123 · Insurance

8,500

13,000

12,000

5370131 · Professional Services

200

1,200

1,200

5370132 · Accounting and auditing

18,000

18000

18,000

5370139 · Employee  Training/Certification

3,000

2450

400

5370140 · Travel/Meals

11,000

8000

2,750

5370141 · Postage and Delivery

300

300

225

5370142. Registration

1,100

1100

800

5370151 · Office Supplies/Expense

4,500

5000

1,400

5370154 · Books, Publ, Subscr, Mbrshps

2,000

2000

2,000

5370164 · Office Equipment

1,500

2000

0

5370241 · Communications

600

600

900

5375212 · Uniforms

600

600

0

5376120. Bank Service Charge

0

50

12

5376145 · Advertising

1,500

3510

50

5376560 · Payroll Expenses

263,000

120,000

212,935

5378200 · Vehicle Expense

2,200

2200

3,000

 

Total General Expense

 

348,000

 

237,010

 

255,672

 

Total Expense

 

415,778

 

304,788

 

324,182

 

 

 

 

 

Increase/(Decrease) to Fund Balance

 

-18,320

 

49,659

 

0

 

Get in Touch!

452 US Highway 98 North
Okeechobee, FL 34974
Phone: 863.763.3619
Hours: M-F 8:00am-4:30pm

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